Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

(via Flickr/Andrea_44)

Gov. Jay Nixon says he is strongly encouraged by news that General Motors may expand its factory in the eastern Missouri city of Wentzville.

The United Auto Workers said Tuesday that GM plans to invest $380 million and bring 1,850 new jobs to the Wentzville plant as part of a proposed contact deal with the labor union. Plans call for the addition of a second shift to produce full-size vans. The factory also would start making a midsize pickup truck.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Pat Quinn has announced two business agreements between Chinese and American companies.

Quinn was in Beijing during an eight-day trade mission Monday.

He says China-based Goldwind plans to build a $200 million wind farm in Lee County in north-central Illinois. Construction on the Shady Oaks project begins this fall.

President Obama this morning outlines a deficit-reduction plan that his economists say would reduce anticipated federal budget deficits by about $4 trillion over the next decade.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Illinois' unemployment rate shot up almost half a percentage point in August to 9.9 percent. And state officials are blaming the continuing struggles of the national economy and weak consumer confidence.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that Illinois' unemployment rate surged from 9.5 percent in July.

(via Flickr/LarimdaME)

Updated 2:46 p.m. with additional contextual information

A newly released report shows that nearly 15 percent of people in Missouri are poor.

The Census Bureau's annual report released Tuesday offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2010, when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year.

Nationally, nearly 1 in 6 people were classified as poor.

Meanwhile, the share of Americans without health coverage rose from 16.1 percent to 16.3 percent - or 49.9 million people - after the Census Bureau made revisions to numbers of the uninsured. That is due mostly to continued losses of employer-provided health insurance in the weakened economy.

In Missouri, 14 percent of residents lacked insurance.

But how does today's data compare with the numbers in years prior?

Part of an ongoing series.

Like some 14 million Americans, the people in our series The Road Back to Work started the year unemployed and searching for a job.

Back in January, we gave six people, all living in St. Louis, Mo., digital recorders and asked them to document their experience as they went through the process of looking for a job.

Working, Still Struggling

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Senator Claire McCaskill says after a month of traveling to Missouri businesses she’ll introduce legislation to better enforce U.S. trade laws.

The Democrat says too many foreign companies are engaging in unfair trading practices, such as mislabeling products to avoid paying duties.

McCaskill says her bill will require all importers to have a physical address to ensure easier tracking and new shippers will be required to pay cash for duties instead of posting bonds that sometimes go unpaid.

Cleaning up your credit score

Aug 29, 2011
(via Flickr/Andres Rueda)

Credit score got you down? You can boost your score by hiring a credit clean-up service.

In case you missed it, check out this story from our own Adam Allington for Marketplace Money on how a couple hundred dollars investment can result in big savings in mortgages and other loans.

(via Flickr/srqpix)

This summer, fewer young people in the U.S. are employed than at any time since the government began keeping track.

On Wednesday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that found just 48.8 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds had jobs in July.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman spoke with Michael Saltsman, a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute, about what the numbers mean.

(via Flickr/[F]oxymoron)

 Opponents of Ameren Illinois’ $90 million rate increase request are gearing up for a hard fight.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the AARP held a series of press conferences today to explain why they want state regulators to reject the proposal. Ameren Illinois is asking for an exorbitant “return on equity,” which is the allowed profit rate for shareholders, according to CUB senior policy analyst Bryan McDaniel.

(SLDC RFQ, July 9, 2010)

The St. Louis Development Corporation is holding a public meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans to develop the north St. Louis riverfront.

The engineering firm HNTB has been studying the 3,000-acre area for the city, to figure out what’s needed to turn it into a freight transportation hub. The city also wants to attract new businesses and jobs.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

State officials say unemployment in Illinois inched up to 9.5 percent in July, the third consecutive month it has increased.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says there were 24,900 fewer jobs reported last month.

Unemployment for Illinois was 9.1 percent in June. But the rate one year ago in July was 10.1 percent.

The numbers were released Thursday and are based on data from the state agency and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(via Flickr/number657)

Officials with Wehrenberg Theatres say when the announcement was made Friday some movie goers actually applauded.

The St. Charles-based company says as cell phone screens have gotten bigger, they’ve gotten more complaints.

Instead of blocking phone signals as some movie chains have done, Wehrenberg is asking patrons to put their phones on vibrate.

If they’re caught talking or texting, they’ll be asked to leave without a refund.

Spokeswoman Kelly Hoskins says they’re stepping up monitoring, and so are other movie goers.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

On Saturday, Standard and Poor's downgraded the debt of the United States a notch.

But the ratings firm continues to see debt issued by the city of St. Louis as a good investment, though vulnerable to economic shocks.

via Wikimedia Commons

In a unanimous vote this week the Los Angeles City Council endorsed a plan to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles.  The next step is finding a team, which may have implications for the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams will be able to break their lease on the Edward Jones Dome in 2014 unless the city signs off on a package of expensive upgrades.

The dome is considered by many to be one of the NFL’s worst stadiums.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says the city does have some money set to pay for upgrades.

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Updated 4:02 p.m.:

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. has released a statement regarding the complaint, read the full text here.

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a St. Louis brokerage firm and a former executive with defrauding five Wisconsin school districts by selling them risky investments funded mainly with borrowed money.

The SEC complaint against Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. and former Senior Vice President David Noack was filed in federal court in Milwaukee Wednesday.

(via Twitter/courtesy @stepliana)

Lucy Nobbe was fed up with Congress, angry over the U.S. credit downgrade, and she wanted the world to know.

Now Nobbe, who sells municipal bonds, has become something of a celebrity, even a hero to many.

The 51-year-old divorced mother of two daughters from suburban St. Louis spent $895 to hire an airplane to fly over New York City on Tuesday pulling a banner that read: "THANKS FOR THE DOWNGRADE. YOU SHOULD ALL BE FIRED!"

Courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was in St. Louis again Tuesday touting the state's growing biotech sector and says a new package of economic incentives will continue to bring more hi-tech jobs to the state.

Nixon was in St. Louis County to welcome SyMyCo, the latest tenant of BRDG Park, the research and development wing of the Danforth Plant Science Center.

The company's President Mike Amaranthus says $1 million in quality jobs tax credits as well as a $250,000 low-interest loan were a key part of their decision to locate in Missouri.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Today the Wall Street Journal ran a story about decreasing prospects for small regional airport's like MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, IL.

When it was built over a decade ago MidAmerica was meant to serve as a "reliever" airport for Lambert and nearby Scott Air Force Base.  As the Journal reports, those aspirations have largely failed to pan out, as departures from Lambert have dropped significantly since Sept. 11.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Thank you for joining us for the live broadcast of the President's remarks.

President Obama addressed the nation this afternoon regarding the current economic situation. You can review a live-blog of the President's speech via NPR's "The Two-Way."

St. Louis Convention & Visitor’s Commission

The City of St. Louis is hosting what tourism officials are calling the “Super Bowl of Conventions" this weekend.

The members of American Society of Association Executives are responsible for booking some $60 billion in convention activity annually.

All told, some 5,000 hospitality industry reps and executives will be in St. Louis from Saturday to Tuesday.  

The purpose of the convention is for those reps to try to convince 1,500 different associations to hold annual meetings in their city.

Update at 2:07 p.m. ET. President Signs Bill:

President Obama has signed into law a bi-partisan bill that raises the debt ceiling and avoids a government default that analysts as well as the White House warned could have had catastrophic effects on the American economy.

Earlier today, the Senate voted 74-26 to send the bill to the president's desk. The AP reports Obama signed the bill privately in the Oval Office.

Our Original Post:

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SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center - one of the hospitals in SSM Health Care's St. Louis-area group of medical facilities.

For the first time in its 25-year history, SSM Health Care no longer has a nun as its top executive officer.

Sister Mary Jean Ryan will remain as chairman of the board of SSM. But she says she's reaching an age, 73, when she would prefer to step away from the day-to-day operations of the system, which owns 15 hospitals and two nursing homes in four states, including Missouri.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

It was once the region's largest shopping mall. Some even billed it as the largest mall in the world.

Now, the vacant Northwest Plaza in St. Ann is up for sale by a group of lenders who need to get the 122-acre, 1.8 million square foot site off their books by 2012.

(via Flickr/roberthuffstutter)

After years of drought, barge operators along the Missouri River got more rain than they had hoped for this year.

The industry had grown optimistic when rising river levels appeared to promise an increase in barge traffic this year. The Missouri Department of Transportation even projected a 15 percent to 20 percent increase.

But then the rains started, causing flooding along the 675-mile stretch from Sioux City, Iowa, to St. Louis. That prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to close the river between Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota and Glasgow, Mo.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Two of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits management companies could become one in the first six months of next year.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Unemployment in Illinois increased to 9.2 percent in June, the second straight month the state jobless rate increased.

The state Department of Employment Security on Thursday laid part of the blame on weak consumer confidence they said was hindering the national economy.

The national unemployment rate hit also 9.2 percent in June. That was up from 9.1 percent.

(via Flickr/dbking)

Updated 5:26 p.m. with further detail and comment from lawmakers

Updated 2:24 p.m. with statement from office of Gov. Nixon on special session

A statement issued today from Scott Holste, a spokesperson for Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon, announces that the governor will call the Missouri legislature into special session.

The date of the special session has not been determined.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 7:51 p.m.

A letter from Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon circulated around Twitter this afternoon, and hosted on the Missouri Chamber of Commerce's website, states that Nixon will be leading a Missouri delegation to China "later this year."

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nixon's office has confirmed that the trip is in the works.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

The unemployment rate in Missouri ticked down slightly last month, according to new data from the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Missouri's rate last month was 8.8 percent, down from 8.9 percent in May 2011, and a sharp decrease from June 2010, when 9.2 percent of the state's citizen's were out of work.

The national rate for June stood at 9.2 percent.

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